The Right Measure of Opposites originated in a twelve-part, concert-length work for piano written in 1998, called Bell Solaris (Twelve Movements for Piano) Transformations of a Theme. The scored materials resulted from ideas about transformation and systems of evolution, which formed a model for what I refer to as propositional music. This model suggests ways in which the work’s musical DNA—expressed in the contours of melody, rhythm, timbre, and dynamics— might evolve further, through both adjacent and contingent possibilities, via real-time, algorithmic procedures residing in the performer’s instrument. So, the model becomes an instrument, and the work is always renewed in every performance through co-creative emergence. For this expanded version, these means of transformation are extended further via electronic sounds and interactive software, and the interpretation of the score is opened to enable free interactions with them. As a result, continuously transforming, musical contours intertwine in a system of counterpoint that links musical shapes up and down a holarchy of forms, from tiny details in individual sounds to larger shapes in the complete performance. The score for The Right Measure . . . presents long and short notes set in an underlying 3-beat time feeling with the tempo indication, “Very fast moving and disjunct.” Further suggestions to the performer appear at various places in the form of texts: “Moisture-water”, “Chaos—fire”, “Warmth”, “Like the age of childhood,” “Emergence,” and at the end, “Formula for creation—the combination of the right measure of opposites.” In this music, small and large forms may emerge anew; ready to instill the joy of discovery in active creative listeners with big open ears.
This performance took place on December 11th, 2017, in the Prince Theater at the Annenberg Center for Performing Arts in Philadelphia. The event was part of ImproTech Paris – Philly, Workshop – Festival, December 11 – 13, 2017. See: ikparisphilly.ircam.fr. The piano is a Yamaha Enspire Disklavier, provided by Yamaha Artist Services, New York. The software was realized with Reaktor and the electronic sounds come primarily from what I call Touché II, which is a software instrument, inspired by the original Touché that was created in collaboration with Donald Buchla in 1979-1980. This more recent software emulation is greatly expanded.